How Big Mike, a Barbershop Painter, Broke Into the Art World
Vice News calls Michael Saviello The Last Real New Yorker. The New York Times calls him The Michelangelo of Barbershops. We just call him Big Mike. Mike has been the manager at the iconic East Village barbershop, Astor Place Hairstylists, for nearly 40 years. All this time, he’s had a passion for art, but never pursued formal training. With the responsibilities of college, business, marriage and family, art was far from his mind for many years.
One day, Mike was inspired by a photo he took on a lunch date with his wife, realizing it could be a perfect first portrait to use to return to painting. Soon after, it was nearly unbelievable fortune that Mike found a large, high-quality canvas outside the barbershop.
Since then, he has not looked back. Mike paints every day during his lunch break in the back of Astor Place, sometimes with a bottle of wine, sometimes to melodies of jazz. His style is influenced by impressionism and realism with a powerful infusion of popular culture. Mike believes: art is life.
American Dream 3.0 is the platform where fine art meets the blockchain. 50% of profits from collection sales are invested into bringing global creators to America (visa, financial support, mentorship).
I had the idea of doing a painting based on Rembrandt’s:
“The Storm on the Sea of Galilee.”
After partnering with AD3, I thought I would do the painting with all the immigrants and refugees through the ages that came to this country, illustrating the hardships they faced in getting here. The storm at sea is a metaphor of their story of coming to America, fleeing oppression, and following the dream of freedom and a better life.